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Piniella Visits Oval Office; Obama Still White Sox Fan

Chicago Cubs Manager Lou Piniella ventured into enemy territory Thursday, leading a group of eight family members on a visit to the home of a diehard White Sox supporter -- President Obama.

The White House apparently is a house divided, with Obama -- who famously wore a White Sox jacket when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday night's All-Star Game in St. Louis -- on one side, and senior advisor David Axelrod and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, both staunch Cubs fans, on the other.

Thus, while Piniella wisely avoided the faux pas of showing up at the White House carrying an armload of Cubs gear for the president, he seemed comforted by the presence of Axelrod and Emanuel.

"A few of [Obama's] top advisors are Cubs fans," Piniella said prior to Thursday night's Cubs-Nationals game at Nationals Park, "so we still have a chance,"

Piniella, his wife, and their children and grandchildren toured much of the White House, including the Situation Room, the Rose Garden and the Oval Office, where they spent about five minutes with Obama himself.

Piniella said he didn't talk baseball with Obama, which is probably just as well. Finally, after watching Obama depart the grounds via helicopter, the Piniellas had lunch with Axelrod and Emanuel. Piniella said he was grateful they didn't ride him about the Cubs' disappointing first half, nor make any lineup suggestions.

"We talked about the prospects for the Cubs in second half of the year," Piniella said. "We didn't talk about the prospects of the White Sox."

By Dave Sheinin  |  July 16, 2009; 7:13 PM ET
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